How to avoid laptop screen glare working outside

This blog was updated in September 2022.

With the rise of work-from-home, so many of us are ready to get up from our desks and head outside with our laptops for a bit of al fresco computing. However, there’s one problem… Weather!

No matter how delightful working in the sunshine is, glare from the sun can make using devices outside a bit of a nightmare. When you can’t see what’s on your laptop due to a blinding glare, it’s time to do something.

But, instead of scuttling back inside, here are some easy fixes to avoid laptop screen glare when you’re working outside.

Keep your laptop in the shade

It’s the most obvious answer – but it works! When you’re working outside on your laptop, find a spot that’s in shade, away from direct sunlight. Perhaps under a tree, or an umbrella you’ve set up opposite the laptop’s display. This should keep it at a reasonable reading level on even the brightest of days. And as a bonus, it might stop the laptop from overheating in the glorious British weather.

Use a laptop hood

No, not THIS kind of laptop hood! (Shutterstock)

Okay, we’ll admit, these do look a bit ridiculous. But if it works, it works. Basically, you can think of a laptop hood as a cap for your laptop. It stretches over the laptop’s display, blocking it from the sunlight.

You can buy an off-the-shelf laptop hood, but they’re expensive for what’s effectively a box in the shape of a laptop. So, before you buy, you might want to try making your own.

A laptop hood can be fashioned out of a cardboard box quite easily. Just make sure your DIY laptop hood stretches over each edge for maximum effect. Also, make it a darker colour so it’s harder to spot in the display’s reflection.

Laptop anti-glare screen

As portable devices, most laptops are equipped with an anti-glare coating. This gives the glare a softer, more diffuse appearance, instead of reflecting it harshly. It makes your display easier on the eyes, even if it’s in direct sunlight.

If your display doesn’t have an anti-glare coating, you can buy an anti-glare screen that attaches to your display like a screen protector. While they help with the glare’s appearance, they don’t get rid of it entirely. So, you’ll want to use an anti-glare screen in conjunction with another method.

Choose your display finish

When there’s light shining on your display, its finish can affect your ability to read it. Most monitors and laptops have a matte finish, as opposed to a glossy finish you’d find on smartphones and TVs.

From an image quality perspective, a glossy finish is preferred. It has a higher perceived contrast for deeper blacks and punchier colours. A matte finish, in comparison, gives the display a dulled appearance.

However, a glossy finish is ridiculously reflective. Never mind working outside, a glossy display isn’t a good fit for an office environment. Squinting at a glossy display, with overhead lighting bouncing off of it, is sure to give you a headache. Go for a matte display if you’ve got the choice. A matte finish paired with an anti-glare coating is miles better at minimising glare than a glossy finish.

Turn up your laptop’s brightness

This is another obvious answer – fighting light with more light! Crank your display’s brightness up and it will be easier to see, even in direct sunlight. It’s what our smartphones do when we step out into the sun.

Some laptops can adjust their display’s brightness automatically too, with what’s called an ambient light sensor. It’s one of those small holes up by the integrated webcam, so don’t block it. Running at 100% brightness is a pretty brute-force solution, however, and it’s sure to drain your laptop’s battery quickly.

Dress dark

You’ve likely noticed brighter colours reflect worse onto screens than darker ones. When you’re outside on your laptop in a white or light-coloured clothes, it’s easier to make out your reflection in the screen. Whereas darker clothes wouldn’t stand out as much. Wearing a black t-shirt on a hot summer’s day may not be that appropriate, however.

Laptops at Ebuyer

So, there’s some advice to follow to avoid laptop screen glare when you’re working outside. Really, this advice isn’t just applicable when it’s a scorcher – screen glare can happen whenever the sun’s out. And don’t forget that Ebuyer stocks a great selection of laptops, tablets and smartphones.

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